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Posts Tagged ‘kidney disease’

NIH Award for Cilia Research

Dr. Wissam AbouAlaiwi

Dr. Wissam AbouAlaiwi, an Assistant Professor Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at The University of Toledo, received an R15 award as a primary investigator from the National Institutes of Health. The award, in the amount of $379,000, will support graduate and undergraduate learning in Dr. AbouAlaiwi’s lab, where he researches Polycystic Kidney Disease, Cardiovascular Disease and Hypertension, and Primary Cilia function in Cell Division and Cell Cycle Regulation.


Dr. AbouAlaiwi receives NIH Award

photo: Dean Early congratulates Dr. AbouAlaiwi

Dean Early congratulates Dr. AbouAlaiwi

Dr. Wissam AbouAlaiwi, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, received an R15 award as a primary investigator from the National Institutes of Health. The award, in the amount of $379,000, will support graduate and undergraduate learning in Dr. AbouAlaiwi’s lab, where he researches Polycystic Kidney Disease, Cardiovascular Disease and Hypertension, and Primary Cilia function in Cell Division and Cell Cycle Regulation.


Kidney Disease and Research

IMG_4834By Dr. Wissam AbouAlaiwi

March is National Kidney Awareness Month, which makes it an ideal time to discuss kidney disease and the research that is changing the way kidney  disease is treated. Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), a genetic disorder characterized by fluid-filled cysts in the kidney nephrons, is caused by a mutation in PKD1 or PKD2, the coding genes for polycystin-1 and -2, respectively. Its prevalence is evaluated between 1/400 and 1/1000 live births and it accounts for 7 to 8 % of end-stage renal disease in developed countries. ADPKD is not only a kidney disease, but also a systemic disorder associated with cardiovascular complications such as cerebral intracranial and aortic aneurysms as well as cardiac valvular defects. These complications represent a continuous concern, particularly in older ADPKD patients. Although asymptomatic in most patients, extrarenal manifestations of ADPKD may become more clinically relevant with the increasing life expectancy of affected patients. They mainly encompass cysts in other organs than the kidney (liver: 94%, seminal vesicle: 40%, pancreas: 9%, arachnoid membrane: 8%, and spinal meningeal, 2%). As yet, the pathogenesis of this disease is not fully understood and there is no specific treatment available. The molecular mechanism in ADPKD has been associated with dysfunction in primary cilia. We in Dr. Surya Nauli’s lab are conducting cutting edge research that focuses on cilia biology and associated Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). Cilia are micro-sensory organelles that extend from the apical surface of cell membranes to the body lumen or microenvironment. They are involved in diverse functions within the cells that range from fluid flow sensors to cell signaling regulators. Currently we are focusing our research interests on deciphering the mechanisms that lead to kidney and cardiovascular abnormalities due to abnormal cilia function. The research conducted in our lab involves the use of cell lines, genetically manipulated animal models and human cells and tissues from organ donors.

Since joining Dr. Nauli’s lab, my research has contributed significantly to the advances made in the PKD field. This contribution was manifested through highly ranked research publications that were concurrently featured on the covers of the American Heart Association journal Circulation Research and Human Molecular Genetics. This was in addition to other review papers and book chapters. Our research has demonstrated for the first time the involvement of primary cilia in cell division, cell cycle regulation and chromosome segregation. This will contribute to deciphering the molecular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis not only in Polycystic Kidney Disease, but in other diseases in which cell division is dysregulated.

Dr. AbouAlaiwi is a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Surya Nauli’s pharmacology research lab.